The Dangers of Improper Wear: Episode 8 – Why a Partially Unbuttoned AR Shirt May Not Fully Protect

Our Dangers of Improper Wear series examines many of the common mistakes people make when wearing arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) clothing, with real-world arc flash video footage that shows just how substantial each mistake can be. In each episode, you’ll find powerful examples of why wearing the right PPE, and wearing it properly, makes all the difference – with expert commentary from Scott Margolin, Vice President of Technical.

Join our host, Scott Margolin, as he uncovers the consequences of failing to fully button your arc-rated or flame resistant (AR/FR) shirt. Improperly wearing your AR/FR clothing could be the difference between injury or leaving the jobsite safely if exposed to an arc flash or flash fire hazard. Tune-in to find out how NOT to wear your AR/FR clothing, and to see proof of how wearing your garments properly saves lives.

In the first video demonstration below, you’ll see that the manikin is fully compliant with NFPA 70E by wearing an arc-rated shirt and pants, as well as a hard hat, face shield, balaclava, rubber gloves and leather keepers. But, there is a significant mistake in the manikin’s outfit. Can you spot it?

What’s the Mistake?

The mistake is in not properly buttoning the top two buttons of the AR shirt – exposing a 100% cotton, flammable base layer. You’ll noticed that as soon as the manikin was struck by the arc flash hazard, the cotton under shirt caught on fire, causing severe burns to both the front and back of the manikin or potential wearer.

If your shirt is unbuttoned, and you’re exposed to a hazard on the job, there is no time to remedy the mistake. You cannot extinguish a fire in time to keep you safe and beyond that, by the time you’ve even thought about extinguishing the fire –  you’re already breathing fire with the potential for further injury.

You may be accustomed to wearing your shirts with a few of the top buttons unbuttoned, but AR/FR clothing only protects your skin if it’s covering it — so you need to either button your AR/FR shirt (or zip/button your coveralls) completely or wear an AR/FR base layer.

It’s not just what you wear, it’s how you wear it.


Series: The Dangers of Improper Wear

Have you ever made any of these PPE mistakes? Follow along with our Dangers of Improper Wear series as we share powerful videos, each focusing on a common mistake made when wearing AR / FR clothing. Watch and learn – it could save your life.

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